Maastricht International Fair - History of The Israeli Shekel

During the MIF2017 fair in Maastricht, Isranumis Coins & Papermoney from Israel will be one of our exhibitors. The history of Israeli currency is not quite old since the founding of the State in 1948.

History of The Israeli Shekel
Development of a new currency to be known as the Shekel (properly, Sheqel) was approved by the Israeli Knesset on 4 June 1969. The governors of the Bank of Israel did not consider the time ripe until November 1977, when studies for its implementation began.

Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Minister of Finance Simcha Erlich approved a proposal to redenominate the Israeli pound in May 1978; the proposal called for the currency to be exactly similar except for the removal of a zero from the inflated pound and agorot denominations.

The Shekel and New Agora were declared legal tender on 22 February 1980 and went into circulation two days later. Initial denominations were IS 1, 5, 10, and 50, but over the next five years inflation led to another five: IS 100, 500, 1000, 5000, and 10 000. New coin and bill designs were selected through competitions among graphic designers.

Beginning with the IS 500 issue, the size of the notes was standardized (76 mm × 138 mm or 3 in × 5 in) and the denominations differentiated by color and design. A transparent part was added to discourage counterfeiting and elements for the blind were added.

The New Israeli Shekel replaced the shekel following its hyperinflation and the enactment of the economic stabilization plan of 1985 which brought inflation under control. It became the currency of Israel on 4 September 1985, removing three zeros from the old notes.

Presently, the old Shekel is no longer in circulation and is not regarded as legal tender by the Bank of Israel.

The initial series of banknotes in 1980 were for the denominations of IS 1, 5, 10, and 50 and preserved the appearance of the 10, 50, 100 and 500-pound notes which they replaced.

Subsequent issues added the denominations of IS 100, 500, 1000, 5000, and 10 000.

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